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Burnt Mountain Hardcover – July 19, 2011

2.7 out of 5 stars 190 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Siddons mixes in a touch of the supernatural to bring the novel to an exciting climax, but what's most appealing here is the layered family drama and the lush world Thayer inhabits...A master storyteller with a remarkable track record, bestselling Siddons returns to her signature Southern setting in her newest blend of emotional realism and a sliver of magic."―Booklist on BURNT MOUTNAIN

"One doesn't read Anne Rivers Siddons's books, one dwells in them."―Chicago Tribune

Bravura writing...This is Siddons's best, maybe the book she was born to write."―Stephen King (on Off Season)

"Anne Rivers Siddons's body of work is one of the most impressive in contemporary fiction. And, in her beautifully crafted and dazzling new novel OFF SEASON, Ms. Siddons delivers the goods more powerfully than ever. All her books are terrific, but this one is the best yet."―Pat Conroy

"The lyrical beauty of Siddons's writing shines...an elegant portrait of love, loss, longing; memories and mystery line the path to self-discovery in OFF SEASON....Siddons's fans will savor the story long after the last page has turned."―Charlotte Observer

"Siddons is at her usual incisive best at skewering the mores of socially pretentious Southerners, and her prose is limpid and mesmerizing."―Kirkus on BURNT MOUNTAIN

About the Author

BURNT MOUNTAIN is Anne Rivers Siddons's 18th novel. Her previous bestselling novels include Off Season, Sweetwater Creek, Islands, Nora Nora, Low Country, Up Island, Fault Lines, Downtown, Hill Towns, Colony, Outer Banks, King's Oak, Peachtree Road, Homeplace, Fox's Earth, The House Next Door, and Heartbreak Hotel. She is also the author of a work of nonfiction, John Chancellor Makes Me Cry. She and her husband, Heyward, split their time between their home in Charleston, SC and Brooklin, ME. For more information, visit www.anneriverssiddons.net.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; 1 edition (July 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446527890
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446527897
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (190 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,235,073 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Reviewer Dr. Beth #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 19, 2011
Format: Hardcover
NOTE: I received a free review copy of this book from the publisher.

I have been a fan of author Anne Rivers Siddons for some time now. Although I was raised on the east coast myself, her sweeping southern novels have way of drawing me into their rich, lush context, particularly in her generational sagas such as Peachtree Road and Colony. Plus, Siddons never fails to feature stories of deep, aching romance and invariably tragic consequences--a captivating combination.

At first, BURNT MOUNTAIN seemed to be of a similar tradition to my favorite Siddons works, and it definitely drew me in. The main character is Thayer Wentworth, whose first nine years, growing up on the outskirts of Atlanta, were fairly idyllic: her beloved father is the headmaster of a boys' school that his family founded, and the Wentworths live just off the school's grounds, it a beautiful Greek Revival house along the river. But the death of her father was the earliest tragedy to shape Thayer, followed by a devastating first love affair, and eventually, the relationship which forms the heart of the book and changes Thayer's life forever.

Overall, I did enjoy this novel; as mentioned above, I like Siddons' writing style--it can be a bit melodramatic, but reading one of her books always feels familiar and comforting. On the other hand, I also had several problems with this novel. During the period that Thayer is growing up (i.e., her adolescent and high school years), various references suggest that the story takes place in the 1950s or 60s.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What has happened to Anne Rivers Siddons? I'm a huge fan, have read everything she's ever published. But this book comes nowhere near what I've come to expect from her. First of all, the book was a full year late coming to market (I preordered it from Amazon last year), and when it arrived I saved it for a few days so that I could have time to sit down and savor the experience. And it began well, setting up the characters and painting the background. No one captures the South like she does, and it was rich and satisfying. The climax, however, was strange and disjointed. I had to keep going back and re-reading to try to figure out where we were. Timelines were split everywhere (Harry Potter movies were not out in the mid-1990s when Atlanta was planning for the Olympics). In the scene where Thayer runs into Nick after all the years, I had to re-read it twice to figure out where it was happening. The long build-up just crashed into confusion, as if the deadline loomed and the book had to be finished quickly, leaving so many threads dangling and poorly resolved. I'm feeling saddened and cheated. It is as if an old friend decided they didn't want to talk to me any more. I want the old Anne back.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Having read and enjoyed bestselling author Anne Rivers Siddons' novels for decades, I looked forward to "Burnt Mountain" like a good visit with an old friend.

It's a story that starts with a wealthy Southern family and its secrets and heartaches. Younger daughter Thayer Wentworth grows into her adulthood with scars and an early maturity, and marries a beguiling Irishman. Then her beloved grandmother and lifelong ally dies, leaving her a generous inheritance. So far, so good.

I was enjoying the humid setting, the rich characterizations and rocky relationship dramas right along until well past halfway in the book, when it started to take an unexpected curve into dodgy territory.

But I kept at it, hoping for the best, until the story became too contrived and unbelievable. It felt like the author lost interest or lost control, gave up and drove the thing into the woods to stop it against a tree.

My initial reaction was concern for the writer. The ending was unfathomable, and I'm terribly sorry to say I can't recommend the book. I will be interested to know what other readers think.
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Format: Hardcover

Sweet Mickey Mouse on a cracker. I don't even know where to start. This book is a mind-hump of crazy. Foreal.

Between Anne's:
incorrect use of the word "literally"

+ her endless descriptions of furniture and lawns (if I wanted that kind of shite, I'd be reading Better Homes and Gardens -- there is actually a full paragraph plus dialogue dedicated to a pot of fake flowers in a fireplace)

+ her inability to tell freaking TIME (head's up, old girl -- the Olympics were in 1995, so there were no cell phones, limited internet access and no Harry Potter movies... was her editor on drugs? unconscious? I'd seriously like to know... it would be a better story than this garbage was)

+ a recycling of old characters/details/word choice/plot points that BOGGLES SANITY. Oh, an architect old boyfriend? A terrible experience with first love? Characters who love mythology? A warped relationship with your parents? Wild amounts of money being granted to people with BA's in English who like to work menial jobs? Terrible death that marks a young person? Black people being portrayed as only vaguely literate and given the only real dialect in the text? CHECK CHECK AND CHECK. If you have Alzheimer's and want to re-read Siddons' early work, this book is for you! It's like she has decided to murder originality with a hatchet.

+ irritating characters that you're expected to like based on "tell" vs. "show." She beats it into the reader that we should looove the husband character (he's magical! And Irish! And with black wet-looking hair like a comma!) then informs us halfway through that no, nope, it was the first dude we should have been loving (he's Jewish! And an architect! With freckles on his arms!
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